Watching this had an impact on me because I think that mainstream media has brainwashed everyone (men and women both) into seeking an ideal portrayed through ads that no female can ever reach. I know that I, myself, have been victim to this, always believing that because I had acne or because certain parts of my body didn't match up to the pictures I saw, that the way I looked was never good enough. I've heard guy friends talking about physical traits they want to see in a girl that most girls don't have or that are really shallow. When I was a camp counselor this summer to eight- and nine-year-old girls, they were already talking about being fat and wanting to lose weight and put on makeup to look prettier. I was quite disgusted and told my girls that they are way to young to be thinking about those kinds of issues and that they are beautiful just the way they are.
|Source: NY Times|
Killing Us Softly 4 talked about how much we subconsciously take in from these ads. Women are dehumanized, sexualized, and looked upon as helpless, and as a society, we all subconsciously agree with the ads, whether we like to admit it or not. The picture above shows just a woman's legs, objectifying her by not giving her a face, and she is in a position that makes her look like she could be dead, if you really think about it. It is images like these that can cause men to think that violence towards women is okay, even if they won't outright admit it, or may not even know it.
I was originally going to use a picture that might as well be pornography to help my point, but it was so indecent that I couldn't even bear to keep it on my post as I typed. It was an ad for a clothing company in London, where the girl was wearing a beanie with pom-poms that barely covered her nipples. Pictures like those showing almost the entire naked body are supposed to be selling clothes. Where are they? And when we keep being exposed to pictures of women with perfectly round breasts, clear faces, and really skinny bodies, we think that is what we need to be to be attractive or beautiful. It also influences guys also think that way too, and they are disappointed when the girls in front of them don't match up to those fake pictures. For some magazine photos, editors will use portions from different faces to make one very flawless and unrealistic picture.
Don't get me wrong, it's not always bad to look at fashion magazines and to want to wear makeup and look nice and lose weight to be healthy if necessary. I just think that many of us (myself included) get caught up in all of it and lose sight of why we're really doing what we do. Am I wearing makeup because I enjoy it and like taking extra time to look nice or am I hiding my acne scars? When we do these kinds of things, we need to ask ourselves these kinds of questions everyday. I see all of this as a constant self-reflection on our own parts.
Media. It has a very powerful effect on us, whether we like it or not. It's up to us to be intentional with how we react after seeing it and knowing how it effects us, men and women alike. Us women need to constantly check up on ourselves and make sure that when we dress up or think about our appearance, we need to check why we're doing what we're doing and why we think that way. As for the men, they need to realize that the women they see on tv and in magazines aren't real. And seeing women being taken advantage of in ads is no excuse for a man to do the same in real life.